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U.S. Sends N. Korea a Warning on Testing

October 05, 2006|From the Associated Press

WASHINGTON — The United States passed a warning to North Korea not to conduct a nuclear test, the chief U.S. envoy to stalled disarmament talks with the communist country said Wednesday. "We are not going to live with a nuclear North Korea," he said.

Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill told reporters that the U.S. had sent the government in Pyongyang a message of "deep concern" through diplomatic channels at the United Nations in New York. He said North Korea had yet to respond.

Hill did not elaborate on the message, except to say that the North Koreans had received it.

The United States and North Korea have no diplomatic relations and rarely communicate so directly -- giving the U.S. message a seriousness that exceeds the public statements Washington has issued.

"We are not going to accept a nuclear North Korea. If they think that by exploding a weapon, we will come to terms with it, we won't," Hill said.

He would not discuss policy options, but said top U.S. diplomats were working with partners in Asia to convince the North Koreans "that this would be a bad mistake."

The U.S. sent its message as it sought to marshal a unified diplomatic front against North Korea's stated plan for a nuclear test.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and other U.S. diplomats contacted counterparts in Asia and Europe, State Department spokesman Tom Casey said. The effort was intended to send "a strong and unified signal ... that these kinds of threats are certainly not acceptable," he said.

Meanwhile, the U.S. was watching activities at possible North Korean nuclear test sites. Authorities cautioned, however, against reading too much into every movement.

Japan, China and South Korea announced a series of summit meetings over the next week to strengthen ties and coordinate a strategy on North Korea.

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